Monday, November 17, 2014

Queer in Chhath Puja

Clickhappy! Nov '14
Madhuja Nandi records Kolkata Rista’s campaign against gender-based violence during Chhath Puja celebrations in Kolkata on October 29-30, 2014

Film screening during Kolkata Rista’s ‘Zero Tolerance Campaign on Rape and Gender
Discrimination’ at Kadapara, near Swabhumi in Central Kolkata. A community-based
organization of trans women and other queer people, Kolkata Rista has been
organizing public sensitization events on gender-based violence every year since
the last six years during Chhath Puja, a Hindu festival dedicated to Sun God Surya
and Goddess Chhathi Maiya.

A crowd of around 1,200 people that gathered around Subhas Sarovar, Kadapara
for a Chhath Puja fair, witnessed Kolkata Rista’s event. The group’s volunteers
spread out to conduct one-to-one interaction on gender justice issues,
collect signatures in support of the campaign’s agenda, and distribute leaflets.

Organized in collaboration with Lake Point Club and as part of the
‘One Billion Rising Revolution’, the event also included street plays
and quiz contests highlighting issues of discrimination and violence
against women, whether transgendered or not. Students from
universities in Kolkata and women and child rights activists joined
hands with the organizers in talking about the importance of
involving men and boys in gender justice.

The banner highlights the contradictions between the
Supreme Court judgments on Section 377, Indian Penal Code
and transgender identities and rights in the last one year:
The first judgment criminalized transgender persons on
grounds of their sexual behaviours, while the second
granted them legal recognition on grounds
of their gender identity!

The campaign gathered support from key influencers, including Rajiv Biswas,
Chairperson, Borough III, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (seated first from left):
“I will always want to be part of this movement because transgender
people are not from another world.” Along with Srikant Ghatak from Lake
Point Club and a number of queer and women’s rights activists, he pledged
support for the campaign on gender justice.

Photo credits: Madhuja Nandi / Kolkata Rista

Madhuja Nandi is a trans woman with 17 years of experience as an LGBT activist.

No comments:

Post a Comment